The Cultural Perspective in Social Movement Theories and Past Research on the Solidarity Movemen
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University of Warsaw
Publication date: 2018-04-03
Polish Sociological Review 2018;201(1):27–45
The issue of culture, while present in the Polish scholarship on the Solidarity movement, remains untheorized. Explorations of culture in the literature are largely descriptive rather than explanatory in nature. In this article, I examine the opportunities that arise when we assume a cultural theoretical perspective in the sociological study of social movements. I focus primarily on the available definitions of culture and their relevance to the problem. I consider the role of culture from three perspectives: first, as the cause of the social movement’s emergence; second, as the movement’s internal organizing structure; and third, as a consequence of the movement. The issues discussed in this essay will be related both to the current state of the theory as well as the ongoing and potential studies of the Solidarity movement, thus providing an illustration to the subject at hand and paving the way for research on other Polish movements. The article concludes with a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of the cultural approach in the sociology of social movements and considers its place within the scope of the Polish research on the subject.
This article was written in the framework of the project “New Approaches to the Solidarity Movement” supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Republic of Poland, National Program for the Development of Humanities, grant no. 0214/NPRH2/H11/81/2013.